Vomiting may be caused by a serious illness or may occur as a side effect of a medical treatment or condition. Drinking a lot of water, or any other fluid, after vomiting can cause you to vomit more.
While vomiting isn't harmful, it can lead to dehydration. This is potentially dangerous, especially for children and older adults. Instead, try drinking small amounts of water. You can start with ice chips if it's easier.
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While you should hydrate after vomiting, drinking too much water can make you feel sick again. Give yourself a couple of hours to let your stomach settle, then start with small sips.
How to Hydrate After Vomiting
Rehydrating is an important step after vomiting. Don't drink any liquids for one or two hours after vomiting. If your mouth gets dry or you have a bad taste in your mouth, you may suck on ice chips or rinse your mouth out with water.
One to two hours after vomiting and after nausea has decreased, start to rehydrate slowly. Sip clear fluids every 15 minutes for three to four hours. If you start to vomit again, restart the hydration process from the beginning.
Don't Drink Too Much Water
After vomiting, you may be concerned about rehydrating yourself. You have an important and valid concern. However, instead of chugging a glass of water, try easing yourself back into it. If you drink too fast, you might end up throwing up water after drinking it.
Here's a quick guide to taking in fluids after vomiting:
- Let your stomach sit for a couple of hours after you throw up.
- Start with clear liquids like water.
- Slowly sip your water first.
- After slowly sipping a glass of water, you can drink at your normal pace.
- Try an electrolyte drink, but steer clear of sugary beverages.
- Continue drinking water slowly, try to get your usual daily requirement but don't push it.
- If you feel full, stop.
- Give yourself 24 hours before you start drinking large amounts of water in a short duration.
Acceptable Fluids After Vomiting
After vomiting, drink clear fluids that do not contain caffeine or alcohol. It's okay to drink water or liquids that contain sugar. Ginger ale, fruit juice, sports drinks and clear broths are acceptable fluids. Do not drink fruit juices that are acidic, such as orange juice or lemonade.
You may also eat ice pops or gelatin snacks. Avoid drinking milk or fatty liquids. If vomiting is accompanied by diarrhea, limit sweetened drinks, which may worsen diarrhea. Instead, choose products specially formulated to replace electrolytes, which are available in liquids and ice pops.
When to See a Doctor
First aid for vomiting may include self-care, but in other instances, you may need to see a doctor. Dehydration may be caused by a loss of fluids during vomiting, an inability to drink fluids or a combination of both. Children and older adults are most at risk for dehydration after vomiting.
Read more: The Consequences of a Lack of Water
Since children may not be able to communicate their symptoms to you, watch them closely for signs of dehydration. These include dry mouth, rapid heartbeat, sunken eyes, lack of tears, dizziness and feeling lethargic. Urinating less than once every eight hours is also a sign of dehydration.
See a doctor if you suspect dehydration or if you experience nausea and vomiting that last more than 24 hours. Children need to see a doctor if they've been vomiting for more than 12 hours. Contact a doctor at once for an infant who has a serious bout of vomiting; dehydration can occur very quickly with infants. Other serious symptoms that warrant a doctor's visit include vomiting accompanied by abdominal pain and vomiting blood.
You should also see your doctor if continue vomiting or if you can't stop throwing up bile.
Read more: The Best Foods to Eat After Throwing Up
Eating After Vomiting
Wait at least 12 hours after vomiting to eat solid foods.
Foods to eat after throwing up include small amounts of crackers, dry toast, pretzels, bananas, white rice, plain potatoes or applesauce. Eat only foods that are bland, avoiding spicy and fatty foods. Also, avoid raw fruits and vegetables if vomiting was accompanied by diarrhea. Stop eating if nausea or vomiting returns.